User talk:Ahasuerus

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See User talk:Ahasuerus/Archive for discussions prior to 2024.


If you're writing to inform me that you've either added a COVER IMAGE or NOTES to any of my VERIFIED PUBS, please follow THIS LINK and add it to the bottom of the list. A link to the pub record would be appreciated. Once the pub has been reviewed, I'll remove your note from the list. Thanks!

Corrupted publication record

I saw this one on one of the cleanup reports. The software will not allow corrections. Do we need to create a new publication record and delete this one? John Scifibones 08:53, 27 January 2024 (EST)

Could you please clarify what you mean by "the software will not allow corrections"? The External ID field had a very long URL (instead of an ID), which distorted the display in some browsers, but I could still access the "Edit" link by scrolling to the right in Firefox. I then found the right PORBASE ID and replaced the long URL with it. It seems to have fixed the issue. Does it look OK now? Ahasuerus (talk) 10:28, 27 January 2024 (EST)
When I entered the correct PORBASE ID, It reverted back to the incorrect previous link when looking at the Proposed Publication Update Submission' screen. As a result, I cancelled the edit. Not sure why that didn't happen to you. Regardless, it is correct now.
P.S. It probably was allowing the change but the proposed changes column was likely off my screen. Thanks, John Scifibones 12:37, 27 January 2024 (EST)
Oh, I see. I vaguely recall experimenting with HTML tables to ensure that they wouldn't do this at some resolutions, but I think I ran into various technical issues and catch-22s. Ahasuerus (talk) 13:44, 27 January 2024 (EST)

Human-Machines; cover has a price sticker so you may want to find another image to replace the unstable Amazon one that's there now. --Username (talk) 18:22, 2 February 2024 (EST)

Updated, thanks. Ahasuerus (talk) 18:33, 2 February 2024 (EST)

Hidden World; PDF, cover, Mantong. --Username (talk) 23:14, 7 February 2024 (EST)

Approved, thanks. Ahasuerus (talk) 08:56, 8 February 2024 (EST)

Deryni Magic Question

Hi Ahasuerus -

Annie has posed this question on my talk page. I found that original edits may may have been yours back in 2006. Could you take a peek when you have a moment (and if you can remember why you did something 18 years ago!). Thanks. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 21:18, 13 February 2024 (EST)

Done. Thanks for the ping. Ahasuerus (talk) 22:49, 13 February 2024 (EST)

What we enter in the "Artist" field

Ahasuerus: The table 'What we enter in the "Artist" field' which you created in your post 11:33, 19 February 2024 (EST) under this thread is very useful. It is much easier to follow and understand than the wording under bullet point "Artist" in Template:PublicationFields:CoverArt. I recently referred to the table for a separate issue about cover artists here.
Could you please add the table to the help page. Teallach (talk) 17:04, 24 February 2024 (EST)

Thanks for the reminder! I have been sick most of the last week and didn't want to touch Rules and Standards discussions until I was back up to 100%. Once I feel better, I'll make sure to check on the R&S page that it's OK to add the table to Help. Thanks. Ahasuerus (talk) 17:50, 24 February 2024 (EST)
No problem. There is no hurry. I am sorry to hear you have been unwell and wish you a speedy recovery. Teallach (talk) 12:47, 25 February 2024 (EST)
Thank you! Ahasuerus (talk) 13:20, 25 February 2024 (EST)

Image backups


I see you updated the downloads page to note that image backups are being redone. This reminds me of something that's puzzled me for a while, and which I meant to ask you about months (years?) ago.

Am I right in thinking that when those zips are generated, it's not an incremental backup style thing where you just need to download the changes/deltas, but rather that they are completely regenerated, and that you'd have to download the full set of zips to have an accurate and complete collection? I vaguely recall that at some point in the past, I'd been downloading the zips in a fairly leisurely manner over a period of days/weeks, and had got maybe 80% of the way through them, and then the zips were regenerated, and I assumed that I had to restart the set.

Would it be possible to have a bit more information on the download page about how they work? NB: I haven't actually ever done anything with the zips I downloaded - I rarely run the full Apache website locally, which I imagine is the main intended use case for the image backups - but I always thought they had the potential to be the foundation of an interesting project. Thanks! ErsatzCulture (talk) 04:35, 5 March 2024 (EST)

That's right: the images hosted by Google Drive are a complete copy of the images hosted by the live ISFDB server. I have added a few more details to the description. Does it make more sense now? Ahasuerus (talk) 14:31, 5 March 2024 (EST)
Thanks. What you've added makes sense, but it's still not clear (to me at least) from the text there that the directories all get updated when new zips are created. Are the 0-9/a-f (and the 2 digit subdirectories) just arbitrary hex digits, maybe the first digits of a checksum or something like that? (That question is slightly rhetorical; I imagine I could find the answer out for myself if I looked through the source code.)
If the tarballs had date suffixes, similar to the database backups, then I think that would make it more obvious that the full set needs re-downloading. However, I guess the downside of that is that it would break any existing tooling for downloading the image backups, and that if you weren't careful you might end up with multiple dated tarballs and/or image directories. ErsatzCulture (talk) 18:25, 5 March 2024 (EST)
Oh, oh... OK, I think I see what the problem is. "0-9" and "a-f" are subdirectory names created by the MediWiki software to store uploaded images. I am so used to this naming convention that it never occurred to me that it may be confusing. A blind spot, if you will. Let me edit the page and explain the naming convention. Thanks! Ahasuerus (talk) 19:15, 5 March 2024 (EST)
Ha, I think this is also a blind spot on my part. Because I don't generally upload my own images (I think it must be in single digits) I forgot that that is all handled by the Mediawiki side of things, and it didn't cross my mind that the directory structure of the images was something that wasn't part of the core ISFDB code. Thanks for clarifying! ErsatzCulture (talk) 05:31, 6 March 2024 (EST)

New hotlink site permission

We have permission to hotlink cover images to a new site, possibly. You can see it here. If that is sufficient, can we add it to the list? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 13:18, 21 March 2024 (EDT)

In anticipation of this being acceptable, there is one publication that is currently hotlinking to the site. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 13:29, 21 March 2024 (EDT)
All done. The publication page now credits "Lawrence Dagstine". Template:Image Host Sites has been updated. Thanks. Ahasuerus (talk) 15:58, 21 March 2024 (EDT)
Thanks! ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 17:12, 21 March 2024 (EDT)

Place Submission on Hold

After placing a submission on hold, it would be nice if the resultant page had links back to the submission - both the moderator view and the public view. Currently, it only has a link to the Submission List. But usually when I put something on hold, it is because I plan to do something with that submission. Yes, I can just hit the back button to get the moderator view again. But I often want the public view so I can include the link in a question to the submitter so having that on the on hold page would save a click. Thanks. -- JLaTondre (talk) 10:21, 24 March 2024 (EDT)

Thanks, I'll take a look. Ahasuerus (talk) 10:45, 24 March 2024 (EDT)
Done. Hopefully, the layout and the colors look OK. Ahasuerus (talk) 18:07, 24 March 2024 (EDT)
Thank you! Looks fine. -- JLaTondre (talk) 18:52, 24 March 2024 (EDT)
Great! Ahasuerus (talk) 19:00, 24 March 2024 (EDT)

Galactic Central

Given that the ISFDB is currently heavily dependent on Galactic Central images (12k publication images as of last database dump) and they seem to be in no hurry to implement HTTPS, -- JLaTondre (talk) 13:52, 3 April 2024 (EDT)

Last I heard the owner had no plans to convert to HTTPS. It's possible that his plans may change at some point since browser manufacturers continue to add restrictions to HTTP-only sites. Ahasuerus (talk) 14:08, 3 April 2024 (EDT)

have you given consideration to implementing a proxy service? Apache has a mod_proxy module or it's pretty straightforward to implement your own[1]. -- JLaTondre (talk) 13:52, 3 April 2024 (EDT)

Thanks for letting me know about these options. I wasn't aware of them. I'll add it to my list of things to look into, but it's a long list, so I am not sure when I may get to it. Ahasuerus (talk) 14:08, 3 April 2024 (EDT)

Or should we create a clean-up project to start moving these images over to the ISFDB wiki? -- JLaTondre (talk) 13:52, 3 April 2024 (EDT)

It would certainly make things easier, in part because of the HTTPS issue and in part because they would be incorporated into our publicly available backup files. However, 12K images is a lot images to migrate. Do we expect to have enough volunteer man-hours to make it feasible? Ahasuerus (talk) 14:08, 3 April 2024 (EDT)
Part of the price of self-moderation? ../Doug H (talk) 21:53, 3 April 2024 (EDT)
I have been migrating them as I edit pubs that use them. It will be slow going, but the current broken images are not ISFDB user friendly. -- JLaTondre (talk) 08:44, 6 April 2024 (EDT)
I have created FR 1601, "Enhance display of HTTP-served images". Ahasuerus (talk) 10:44, 6 April 2024 (EDT)

Baen ISBNs

Toll of Honor just came out, and we have the ISBN formatted as 978-1-982193-31-7. The back of the book as well as the copyright page have it formatted as 978-1-9821-9331-7. Do we need to look at the code that adds in the dashes? This may affect more than just Baen books. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 17:33, 5 April 2024 (EDT)

Checking the official "ISBN Ranges" page, I see that the hyphenation rules have changed and become more complex. It used to be that the rules for "978-0-" ISBNs had only 6 cases, but now it's up to 21. "978-1- ISBNs also used to have 6 cases, but now they are up to around 50 cases. Other language-specific ISBN rules have also been affected, although not as severely. Let me create a new FR for this change. Thanks for letting me know! Ahasuerus (talk) 17:55, 5 April 2024 (EDT)
FR 1600 "Update the ISBN hyphenation rules" has been created. Ahasuerus (talk) 18:02, 5 April 2024 (EDT)
And done -- see this Community Portal announcement. Ahasuerus (talk) 14:08, 16 April 2024 (EDT)

Murder in Millennium VI

Please see this edit that impacts your verified pub. Let me know if you agree with changing the credit. Thanks. -- JLaTondre (talk) 08:41, 6 April 2024 (EDT)

I don't have this issue handy right now, but the copy is readable. Here is what I see:
  • The title page of the review column, "Readin' and Writhin'" (p.46), credits "Damon Knight and the Editor".
  • There are three reviews. The first two, "Murder in Millennium VI" and "Seetee Ship", are not credited. The third one, "Beachheads in Space" on page 67, is signed "RWL".
  • Of the three reviews, only "Murder in Millennium VI" was reprinted in Damon Knight's In Search of Wonder.
  • We currently credit "Damon Knight and Robert A. W. Lowndes" as the authors of the first two reviews and "RWL" as the author of the third review. We then variant them to their actual authors based on reprint history and textual research.
  • The publication record has notes explaining who the actual authors are and what our evidence is, but individual REVIEW records do not.
Based on the above, how about we use "uncredited" as the author of the first two reviews instead of "Damon Knight and Robert A. W. Lowndes"? The current variants would remain in place, but we would copy explanatory notes from the publication record to each title record. What do you think? Ahasuerus (talk) 10:00, 6 April 2024 (EDT)
I pointed Swfritter to this discussion since he has also verified the pub. As you two are the verifiers, I will defer to you both, but your suggestion makes sense to me. -- JLaTondre (talk) 10:08, 6 April 2024 (EDT)
Sounds OK to me. Especially since there will be plenty of documentation.--swfritter (talk) 20:40, 6 April 2024 (EDT)
OK, I think I got it. Thanks! Ahasuerus (talk) 23:37, 6 April 2024 (EDT)
Thanks. Original edit has been rejected with an explanation of the change. -- JLaTondre (talk) 06:56, 7 April 2024 (EDT)

Wily Writers; The web page link gave me a red warning for not being safe. Also, shouldn't title/variant be 2013, not 2014? --Username (talk) 19:10, 15 April 2024 (EDT)

It gives me a 403 error when I try to visit. There must be something going on with the server there. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:43, 15 April 2024 (EDT)
Apparently the "Wily Writers"' Web site died at some point in the late 2010s. Eventually it was picked up by someone else, but the new owners didn't configure their security certificate correctly, hence the security warning displayed by the browser. I have changed the dates from 2014 to 2013 and replaced the affected links with Wayback machine versions. Thanks for the heads-up. Ahasuerus (talk) 20:23, 15 April 2024 (EDT)

How Far Alongside Night?; I have some edits adding archived links to the Crown and Ace editions of Alongside Night and another adding afterword mentioned in '87 Avon edition's note; searching for the name Konkin and not finding anything I then noticed you entered the essay in this 2013 edition but name is Konklin (as it also is for another essay). So I think after approval the 2 essays should be merged under the name Konkin; the '99 Pulpless edition is on Google Books and it says Samuel Edward Konkin, III so that's how I entered it, not having any copies or photos of the Avon to verify (no page number, of course). --Username (talk) 09:39, 20 April 2024 (EDT)

It was, indeed, a typo. Everything has been approved and merged. I have moved the URL associated with the essay to the Title record and updated Konkin's author page with biographical data and links. Thanks. Ahasuerus (talk) 13:29, 20 April 2024 (EDT)

Space Viking

Adding cover artist, notes and external IDs to your PVd Space Vikings.10:59, 21 April 2024 (EDT) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by SFJuggler (talkcontribs) .

I have approved the submission and expanded the Notes section. One thing to keep in mind is that the dates listed in early Catalog of Copyright volumes are actually "dates of publication as given in the application". It's possible for the actual publication date to be different due to printer- or publisher-originated delays, so I find it useful to add the phrase "date of publication as given in the application" to the Notes field. I have updated the Title record as well. (Later Catalog of Copyright volumes distinguish between "Date of Publication" and "Registration Date", but that's a different kettle of fish.) Thanks! Ahasuerus (talk) 12:45, 21 April 2024 (EDT)

Weird series ordering

On this series, it's not numbering them in order as it ought to. Any ideas why it's switching things around? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 14:16, 24 April 2024 (EDT)

That looks like expected actually - titles and subseries do not mix in the series ordered views so you got all numbered Titles first followed by all numbered subseries. Annie (talk) 14:57, 24 April 2024 (EDT)
That's exactly right. If the ISFDB software displayed numbered titles and numbered sub-series together, then we'd have anomalies like:
  • Book #1
  • Sub-series trilogy #1
    • Book A
    • Book B
    • Book C
  • Book #2
  • Sub-series trilogy #2
    • Book X
    • Book Y
    • Book Z
  • Book #3
That said, titles and sub-series currently use the same offset and font. Perhaps we should make them look different to facilitate distinguishing between the two type of elements that title series can contain. Ahasuerus (talk) 15:12, 24 April 2024 (EDT)
From my view, if the subseries is numbered as part of the series, that numbering should be in order. I can see pushing subseries to the bottom of the main series if they aren't numbered as part of the series. That makes sense. But doing it so that the numbering is 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 5, 7 doesn't make any sense and will likely cause confusion for anyone viewing the page because people generally expect numbered things to be in order. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 16:18, 24 April 2024 (EDT)

(unindent) (I have moved the discussion of information to ISFDB:Research_Assistance#Moribito_series). Ahasuerus (talk) 20:16, 24 April 2024 (EDT)

After mulling it over and running a few database searches, I am beginning to suspect that we may have two different scenarios here. The first one can be seen on this Series page for Jonathan Maberry's Pine Deep. The original trilogy (2006-2008) is numbered 1-3. There is a follow-up series, Monk Addison, which an editor tried to configure -- cumulatively -- as number 4 in the main series. It didn't work too well because the sub-series appears after various unnumbered short fictions titles within the main series.

The second scenario can be found here. Gotrek and Felix consists of 17 novels and a few dozen works of short fiction. It also contains 3 sub-series for the 3 different omnibus editions of the main series. The sub-series are numbered 1, 2 and 3 and appear at the bottom of the page, i.e. after the short fiction. Unlike the Pine Deep scenario, this is, unambiguously, the expected behavior since the omnibus sub-series are not part of the main numbering scheme.

If my understanding is correct, then the ISFDB software currently supports the second scenario, but not the first one. Does this sound about right? Ahasuerus (talk) 20:32, 24 April 2024 (EDT)

Yes, that seems accurate. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:43, 24 April 2024 (EDT)
I guess the next question is what we can do about this situation. Let me sleep on it... Ahasuerus (talk) 21:13, 24 April 2024 (EDT)
No bright ideas so far, I am afraid. I can't think of a way to accommodate these two different scenarios using the database fields that we currently have. Maybe something will germinate over the next few days. Ahasuerus (talk) 14:34, 25 April 2024 (EDT)
How about an obvious solution: add a flag/checkbox on the series page which tells the software if it needs to show series and titles mixed based on the numbers OR if they need to be kept separate? With the default being showing them separately (aka "things as they stand now"). Annie (talk) 17:32, 25 April 2024 (EDT)
PS: Oops. Did not see your note about using existing DB fields. You know... maybe we can use the "Series Parent Position" creatively? Add a letter to the number if you want them to sort inside of the titles series (so instead of 1, use 1M (for mixed))? Annie (talk) 17:34, 25 April 2024 (EDT)
And we do not even need to show that weird numbering scheme to the editors - make that the DB field value but change the UI to actually show a checkbox. Or something along these lines. The only thing that may be a bit of a hassle is that this field is actually integer, right? So... add an big number to the actual value and drop it for sorting? So instead of 1, record 1001 (how many series we need that need 1000 as a number on the series order?). Annie (talk) 17:38, 25 April 2024 (EDT)
Re: "flag/checkbox on the series page which tells the software if it needs to show series and titles mixed based on the numbers OR if they need to be kept separate", it's possible for a series to have both types of sub-series. The first type covers sub-series which should be treated as titles for ordering purposes. The second type covers sub-series which should be displayed after all regular titles, including unnumbered titles. If a new flag is to be implemented, it will presumably need to be added to each sub-series, specifying what kind of sub-series it is.
That said, I think the first thing that we need to do is to determine what kind of impact having certain sub-series displayed within the main title sequence would have. A few things come to mind:
  • We have a cleanup report that finds duplicate series numbers within a series. It would presumably need to be enhanced to look for duplicate numbers of the new type (or a new cleanup report will need to be created.)
  • Having a long sub-series -- especially if it has nested sub-series of its own -- appear in the middle of numbered titles could make it harder for our users to understand what the actual order of the main series is. For certain major universes like Warhammer, the resulting "series tree" could be overwhelming.
  • Development considerations. Currently the software module responsible for displaying series (a) calls itself recursively AND (b) shares code with our Bibliographic pages. It's a delicate and messy area which is high on my list of things to rewrite once I am done with Fixer migration. Adding additional complexity to it before the code is rewritten may not be optimal.
Ahasuerus (talk) 20:49, 25 April 2024 (EDT)

Japanese collaboration

I haven't asked them yet, but one of the authors in our database was the creator of the Japanese SF Book Database and the Japanese SF Magazine Database. He's in his 90s now, and I wondered if I should reach out to him to see if he (or one of his colleagues) might be interested in entering all the information from those databases into ISFDB in order to make it more broadly accessible (since most people outside of Japan have never heard of his two databases). I don't know what their database system is, but there might even be a way to (at least partially) automate the transfer of information. I know they've had some database issues recently so their sites aren't working properly, so I think it's even more important to try to get that information into ISFDB before he dies. Thoughts? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 17:46, 25 April 2024 (EDT)

The idea certainly has merit. Here are some steps that come to mind:
  • We'll need to determine whether the current database owners/maintainers are able and willing to share the data. There may be pre-existing obligations or commitments which may prevent them from sharing the data.
  • The fact that the Web site is currently partially non-functional raises a flag. We'll need to determine whether they have coherent database backups and database documentation. We'll also need to know how many records the backups contain.
  • If they have a coherent database backup and are willing to share it, then it's likely that we should be able to use it. Directly importing data into the ISFDB database would be suboptimal, in part because it would leave us without Edit History, but creating Fixer-style submissions using their data should be viable. We have a number of people with software development backgrounds who may be interested in working on this task.
  • The ISFDB Web API supports putting submissions on hold on behalf of a moderator. We'll probably want to hold these submissions for moderators who have a working knowledge of Japanese.
Based on the above I would suggest that we start by contacting the owners/maintainers to get answers to the first two issues listed above. Ahasuerus (talk) 18:24, 25 April 2024 (EDT)
Okay, I'll start by doing that. An additional thing to consider is instances where we already have one of the titles in ISFDB. I guess that could be handled by the existing duplicate checker. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 12:47, 26 April 2024 (EDT)
True, although whoever ends up doing development work for this project will presumably have a local copy of the ISFDB database. It should be possible to query it to see if the data is already on file. Ahasuerus (talk) 13:22, 26 April 2024 (EDT)

The Shadow of Heaven

Hello Ahasuerus, I'm following up on this conversation and will be adding this pub to Gollancz SF Series (6). Regards, Kev. --BanjoKev (talk) 18:39, 26 April 2024 (EDT)

Sounds good! Ahasuerus (talk) 20:47, 26 April 2024 (EDT)

Time Trap; I assume PV copy had no dustjacket but the archived copy does so I added the month and wrote a note about it. --Username (talk) 21:12, 9 May 2024 (EDT)

I am pretty sure that my verification copy has its dust jacket, but, unfortunately, it's currently boxed, so I can't check. I'll make a note of it, but for now I have approved the submission. Thanks. Ahasuerus (talk) 08:27, 10 May 2024 (EDT)